Why Do Children Lie?
Joey and Carla Link
Every parent will have a child who lies at one time or another. Why do children lie? Rarely do parents get to the heart of this question because they are more focused on the lie and the ramifications of the lie versus why their child lied. Getting to “why” a child lied is much more important than the lie itself.
Here are just 6 of the many reasons why a child lies (from the NEW Mom’s Notes Presentation “Liar Liar Pants on Fire”):
- To get attention
- To gain control
- To get revenge
- To escape responsibility
- To be accepted
- To get out of trouble
Jesus’ brother James says it this way,
“But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire
and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin;
and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
Parents need to help their child learn to deal with their evil desires. Parents don’t think of their children as being evil, but this verse says we all are. Satan tempts us in this area and way, he knows we will give in because the temptation looks really, really good. We will be celebrating a family birthday this weekend and I am already talking myself out of the eating the cake! That’s my (Carla’s) temptation I have trouble standing up to. When your kids give in to temptation and they know they have done something big time wrong, the last thing they want to do is honestly answer their parent’s questions about what they did so they lie, hoping their parents don’t know the truth.
What is so enticing to your children that they would lie to you to get what they want or to get out of trouble? I remember a mom who struggled with this when her son wanted to go to a friend’s house for an overnight. He purposefully didn’t disclose that they would be watching a movie that he knew his parents wouldn’t approve of. So he didn’t tell them what they would be doing. Is this a lie? Yes, it is. It is called “deceiving” which is a form of lying. When you deceive someone you are deliberately manipulating the facts to cover up what you don’t want known. His parents did find out about the movie as the other parents told them what the boys watched because they didn’t have a problem with it. When their son came home, he knew by the look on his parents’ faces they knew what he had done, and that he had broken his parents’ trust in him. It took a long time for him to earn it back. His parents asked him if the movie was worth the consequence, and he shook his head that it wasn’t. This was a good lesson for him to learn to work it all the way through in his mind before he commits to doing something he knows is wrong.
Thankfully, this family understood the lie wasn’t the problem. The bigger problem was his inability to walk away from temptation, and they came up with a plan to work with him on that. It is not common for parents to look beyond the sin of lying to the why of lying.
Have you gotten the NEW Mom’s Notes presentation “Liar, Liar Pants on Fire!” to help you learn how to deal with and shape your child’s heart to be truthful?